Editor’s Note: This article is a guest post written by author Diane Rose-Solomon. The second edition of her book, What to Expect When Adopting a Dog, is due out later this month and is a must-have resource for anyone who’s bringing a new mutt into the family. For more resources, check out my articles on adopting a dog.
Also, be sure to read all the way to the end of this article where you can enter to win an autographed copy of Diane’s book!
Tips and Strategies For Welcoming Fido Into Your Home
Bringing home a new dog is exciting. It can be also fun or challenging, or all of the above. The good news is, there is so much support available to help make the process joyful and easier than if you had to go it alone.
Whether you are bringing home a puppy, an adult dog, a senior dog, or a dog with special needs, you are forming a brand-new relationship and lifelong bond with a sentient being who depends on you for his or her care. This is not a relationship to take lightly. If you have chosen to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group and have potentially saved their life, you certainly want to start off with some helpful tools to aid in their transition into your home and family.
A rescued dog may have had a rocky start and you have the beautiful opportunity to turn that around for them.
Let’s take a look at some health, safety, and practical tips and strategies for you and your new dog as he is he settling in.
Schedule a check up with your veterinarian. You want your new dog seen by a vet to ensure he or she is healthy, or advise you of any additional support you will be required to offer your dog. If your dog is from a shelter or rescue organization, he or she is likely neutered or spayed already. If not, check with your vet for the recommended age for either procedure.
There are already more pets than homes and you don’t want to add to the statistics. Your vet can make sure your new dog is up to date on all of his shots and has been microchipped too. It’s a good idea to be familiar with the location of your emergency vet- just in case.
In addition to microchipping, make sure your dog has a visible tag.
“We don’t always know the past of animals in rescue. Often times they are very fearful of their new environment and are a flight risk until they become familiar with their new home. This might take a few weeks or longer. Patience and vigilance is key…[and] ALWAYS make sure your dog has proper identification. While microchipping is great to assist in recovering lost pets for owners, a visible tag is the fastest way to reunite a lost dog with his/her owner.”
From The Animal Rescuer’s Perspective on Pet Safetyˆˆˆ
—Carole Feeny and Kristin Waters, Project Blue Collar
It might seem silly, but get down on hands and knees and look at your surroundings from a dog’s eye level. For example, check for electrical wires that they can chew on, or lamps they could topple over if they get the zoomies and started running around. Do this inside your house and out.
Check the perimeter of your yard for holes and possible places they can dig up and use as an escape route.
- This is a good time to make sure your fences are secure and will contain a dog that could possibly jump over them. When we adopted our Labrador/Pit Bull mix, Ninja, we had to increase the height of part of my fence to keep him safely inside.
Make sure you only use natural non-toxic products in your home and yard.
- Be sure that any toxic products you do use are safely stored away. Anti-freeze is an example of a product that tastes yummy to dogs but is potentially fatal. And there are dozens of plant and human foods that could be harmful too, so familiarize yourself with that list.
Contact a recommended trainer to get your new dog on the path to learning what you expect of him in your home, socialized with other dogs, and bonding with you and your family.
If there are no classes in session right now, ask the trainer if they offer a private class to get you started.
Does Rover need a bath or grooming? If the idea of making a mess in your tub, or leaning over while bathing him doesn’t sound appealing, then try a cost efficient doggie dunk where the tubs are elevated and they clean up the mess. Or do you know a trusted groomer? You can either take your dog to the local groomer or research a mobile groomer that will come to you. Grooming isn’t just for their cleanliness, it’s also for their health (plus a clean dog is much more appealing to hang out and play with.).
When you go out (for short periods of time), your new dog should be confined to a crate or a room where he can’t do any damage or get into any trouble. Be sure to consult a professional trainer about proper crate training. If you need to leave for extended periods of time, consider a trusted dog walker or doggie daycare.
Got kids? There are many resources to teach children how to act safely around dogs. Preparing your home not only means preparing for your dog’s safety but for the people in your home as well. Since your dog is new to your family, be sure to supervise at all times while everyone is getting acquainted.
If you have children, now is the time to instruct them how to behave around dogs. The people from The Family Dog have great videos that help train dogs as well as videos to help keep kids learn the do’s and don’ts to keep them safe.
Muster up all the patience you can, especially in the first few days and weeks. You are getting to know one another, and it can be trying. But the unconditional love is well worth it!
Spend as much time with your new pup as possible as he transitions into your family. Take lots of walks together. It’s a great opportunity to get to know him, for him to get to know your neighborhood and for you both to get much needed exercise. It takes a bit of time but you will hit your stride and won’t remember a time that he wasn’t part of the family.
For more information about dog adoption, care and integrating him into your home, please check out my book, What to Expect When Adopting a Dog. The second edition will be released at the end of June. And feel free to download and share this helpful infographic: 10 Important Things to Know Before Adopting a Dog.
About the Author:
After accidentally rescuing a puppy 22 years ago, Diane Rose-Solomon became involved with animal rescue and adoption and served on the board of directors of a small animal rescue organization. She is a Certified Humane Education Specialist through Humane Society University and the author of award winning children books “JJ the American Street Dog and How He Came to Live in Our House” and the sequel “JJ Goes to Puppy Class.”
“What to Expect When Adopting a Dog”, her latest non-fiction book, is an award winning guide to successful dog adoption for every family.
Diane also founded Team Kindness, a program where children, families and teachers can learn about and engage in kind, and humane educational activities.
Diane lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenagers and two rescued dogs. See her website here.